Feinstein to introduce assault weapons ban bill
December 16th, 2012
11:43 AM ET
9 years ago

Feinstein to introduce assault weapons ban bill

(CNN) - Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California said Sunday the president will soon have legislation "to lead on" in the gun control debate, announcing she will introduce a bill next month in the Senate to place a ban on assault weapons.

"We'll be prepared to go, and I hope the nation will really help," Feinstein said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

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The senator said she'll introduce the bill when Congress reconvenes in January and the same legislation will also be proposed in the House of Representatives.

"We're crafting this one. It's being done with care. It'll be ready on the first day," she said, adding that she'll soon announce the House authors.

"It will ban the sale, the transfer, the importation, and the possession. Not retroactively, but prospectively. It will ban the same for big clips, drums or strips of more than 10 bullets," she said. "There will be a bill."

Gun rights legislation has gained renewed attention since Friday's deadly elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, that left 20 students and six adults dead.

Many lawmakers and politicians have called for stricter gun control laws at the federal level, including a revisit to the 1994 former assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 but has yet to be reinstated.

Feinstein, who helped champion the 1994 legislation, said she and her staff have looked at the initial bill and tried to "perfect it."

"We believe we have (perfected it). We exempt over 900 specific weapons that will not fall under the bill, but the purpose of this bill is to get … 'weapons of war' off the street of our cities," she said.

The senator added she believes President Barack Obama will support the legislation. As a presidential candidate in 2008, Obama said he would support such a ban, but he has been criticized for failing to work toward tighter gun control laws since taking office.

After Friday's shooting, however, the president signaled a change in policy could soon be in place.

"We're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics," Obama said in his weekly address Saturday, echoing remarks he made Friday after the tragedy.

Feinstein on Sunday praised the assault weapons ban of 1994 for surviving its entire 10-year term and predicted a successful future for her upcoming bill.

"I believe this will be sustained as well," she added. "You know, all of the things that society regulates, but we can't touch guns? That's wrong."

Filed under: Congress • Dianne Feinstein • Gun rights
soundoff (828 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    None of those weapons were used in the murder in CT."

    It was the Bush Master .223 that killed each and every one of those children. Or so says the Coroner, who probably has more inside information than you in that he was the man who pulled each and every bullet out of their dead bodies.

    December 17, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  2. lulu

    We can't touch guns because it's our right to bear arms. I think a bill like this will cause more people to disobey and get guns.. it's the whole "don't touch" concept.. "don't buy guns" will only make them want to get it. Then those that are obeying the law will be left for free fire.. kinda like the shooting. If teachers were allowed guns, they could have protected the students.

    December 17, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  3. butch81385

    So, did any of you see the tragedy in China where a person stabbed a bunch of people? Should we ban knives? What about crazy drivers that plow into stores or school parking lots? Ban cars?

    Instead of trying to ban firearms (how's that working out in Chicago?) why don't we tackle the real issue here: the fact that mental health diagnosis and care is abysmal in our country. Instead of making a crazed person find another (and possibly more deadly) weapon, why don't we get them help??

    December 17, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  4. rs

    Your lack of respect for us, the President, or those who disagree with your narrow, radical views makes your opinion meaningless.

    December 17, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  5. Michael Brown

    Another smoothbrain made famous by the news media/ ministry of propaganda sticking microphphones in the faces of schoolchildren is not good journalism its the ratings that matter to them. I own several firearms and keep them stored in a vault Instead of making budget cuts on the backs of mental health facilities and guards The US and mainly the state of ILLINOIS should be doing the opposite! THE NEWS MEDIA NEEDS TO HAVE SOME SORT OF ACCOUNTABILITY when it comes to glorifying these smoothbrain ATTENTION SEEKERS

    December 17, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  6. GonzoinHouston

    Go check the opinion piece on CNN's homepage this morning, "The Warning Signs Were There". This is not some wild-eyed raving. This is by a dean at Johns Hopkins who did a major study on rampage violence. The kids at risk can be identified, and while gun control will stop some, it won't stop someone who is more determined. A little attention and a little help can prevent some major events.

    December 17, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  7. Bob from NH

    There is no reason why these assault rifles should be available.
    However, the hunters and antique collectors should still be able to enjoy their sports and hobbies.
    But an automatic weapon is not needed to take down a deer in the forest, they only have one purpose, to kill other people, in this case, children 6-7 years old... utterly tragic. It is crazy to think that guns should go unregulated with the mass shootings that seem to keep happening, plus the individual murders on a dily basis in this country.

    My opinion, number one, yes there should be a ban on assault weapons.
    Owners of the remaining guns also need to take great responsibility to be sure their guns are safely secured at all times... if they do not want to take that responsibility, then they should not own a gun.
    I would even take it a step further, a gun owner whose gun is used in a crime, if it is proven the gun was not secured properly, that gun owner should be held both legally and liability wise.

    My heart goes out to the people & families of Newtown, this should have never happened.

    December 17, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  8. duane st.pete Florida

    this is not a fix....mental health issues need addressing as this guy was sick and everyone knew it.... and those games all those parents let kids play online (single shooter games) that are for 17 year olds and up that 10 year olds are playing because the parents want to be friends not parents. Killers will always kill.......crazy people are walking all around us. 80 million law abiding gun owners will pay the price of this nut and all we want to do is protect our families and possessions.

    December 17, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  9. Dave

    Years ago there was a shooting at a Scottish school which killed a number of children. The Scots then banned weaponry and there have been no shootings since. Switzerland outlawed private gun ownershipand has had NO school shootings. Germany, Japan, Britain,and France have very strict gun laws and no mass shootings. What are we doing wrong? Ah yes, allowing Paranoid folks to dictate our gun laws is why.

    December 17, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  10. Ralph Ziggy

    Feinstein is a hypocrite, her wealth was built on assault weapon manufacturing. And I see some ignorant people here claiming "assualt weapons" can't protect home, the truth is thousands of crimes have been stopped by homeowners with so-called "assault weapons" and no shot ever needing to be fired. Two of my relatives are amoung those stories the media will never publish. Most violent crimes in the U.S. are committed with handguns, and largely by a couple subcultures we have here in the USA. Take away those subculture's crimes (largely committed against others in the same subculture), and all of a sudden our crime rate becomes on par with most european countries. We have a problem alright, certain subcultures with breakdown of family structure and as a result no value of human life and no moral character

    December 17, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  11. Thomas

    Dems want to take our guns away , next it will be our corkscrews and beer openers .

    God gave us the right to pac a peace !

    December 17, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  12. thebes42

    Since its not retroactive, same as the last "ban", all it will do is cause pre-ban items to skyrocket in price on the used market, just like the last "ban".

    Feistein once again proposes a law that will do nothing but disempower the poor. It figures, since she's so freaky rich.

    December 17, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  13. Guest

    Some guy in Florida killed his neighbor with a hammer.....the hammer buy back bill is right around the corner!

    December 17, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  14. Wake up People!

    I find it so ironic that many members of the GOP were completely up in arms about what occured in Libya. A country where war and fighting come as easy as breathing to its citizens. A country where there is a chance if something does break out, it could turn out very tragic, and it did. Yet these same people who could seem to care less that 26 people right here on American soil, including 20 INNOCENT ANGELS, were blown away, that the gun laws need protecting. I'm not saying ban all guns, but changes need to be made along with serious discussion without all the name calling.

    All we have heard about from the right since Libya is how 4 innocent people died. That itself is a tragedy, however, it's spit in the wind compared to 20 babies that never got to grow up, never will graduate, marry, have their first kiss or have children of their own. I am not downplaying Ambassador Stevens death, but he was an adult who knew he was constantly in harms way, whereas these babies knew nothing except Christmas is coming and hoping Santa brought them what they wanted.

    December 17, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  15. lol

    The lack of education about firearms here amazes me. This won't even make it to a vote in congress , nothing will happen, thank god, you all fail.

    December 17, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  16. G8r

    The family of anyone shot by a criminal on a property posting a "no guns allowed" policy should sue that property owner for denying the victim the inherent right of self-defense and self-preservation. I have yet to hear of a case of someone trained and licensed to carry a concealed weapon committing a heinous crime such as this. In every case of mass shootings, one or two people with a ccw could have ended the tragedy much sooner. As it is, the shooters have free reign. It would be much more effective if those who rail against guns were to instead focus on bullying which is a theme that runs through the lives of these sick, demented shooters.

    December 17, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  17. Brigham

    The whole thing is heartbreaking and I understand where she is coming from but this is only going to promote heavy buying now. I own a lot of sporting guns (shotguns and rifles) but do not have any AR's. The constitution is there to protect us against our own government and alot of people like me will buy if there is a coming ban. I would most likely never use it but I do want that option. As a conservationist and hunter I spend a lot of time and money every year on charitable conservationism and hunting without the need of that type of weapon but watch what you wish for if it is banned. The size and scope of our government and the growing depths of their unchecked powers is scaring people enough already.

    December 17, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  18. Malory Archer


    What is obvious to me, and it is true with this recent tragedy, is that the perps, except for Capt Muslim, have all been Democrats.


    And you know this because.......

    December 17, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  19. NotThisCrapAgain

    It's not guns. It's a violence culture. You're surprised that a mentally disturbed 20yr old raised on the most violent movies Hollywood has ever produced, plays Call of Duty on his xbox 20 hours a day, and lives where it's OK to smoke Marijuana goes out and lives out his culture. (and for your people who will want to point out that none of this is specific to the CT shooting, it's a note about what is becoming cultural norms). It's not the guns. Would it be OK if he had stabbed his mother in the throat, drove her car through the front of the building, and lobbed a couple pipe bombs into the classrooms? Of course not.

    A gun is a tool. Can be used for good or evil. Every cop that responded in CT was carrying a carbine. Anybody feel unsafe? Take away one tool, and another will be found. It's a fact that legislation can not stop.

    December 17, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  20. NotThisCrapAgain

    BTW, before every gun grabber starts feeling good about the told CNN discussion threads, discussions that are moderated are not free discussions.

    December 17, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  21. SafeJourney

    Assult rifles and bullets designed to to inflict as much internal damage as possible, gun clips or drums with many rounds. They can start banning these . Mental health issues also needs to be address.

    December 17, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  22. KeepingMyGuns

    Only problem here is that no assault weapons were used in Newtown...

    December 17, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  23. The Real Tom Paine

    No one is claiming that an assault weapons ban is the only answer to our problems, but taking no steps to at last try to keep weapons out of the hands of the mentally ill or people whose diabilities, like autism, prevent them from having the empathy to understand the ramifications fo what they do is an abandonment of our our responsibilities to have a safe society. A semi-automatic with a clip of 30-60+ rounds is not needed, period. They should have never been made available for civilian use. The people who made originally comments about an armed citizenry being an effective deterrant to tyranny never envisioned weapons that could penetrate concrete and steel, and could kill and distances of over half a mile or more away. This is not about stopping someone from hunting or being able to defend themselves against an intruder, @UDidntBuildThat, the weapon involved was a Bushmaster .223, a semi-automatic knockoff of the M16, so please get your facts straight. I target shoot with my son, but I don't regard him as mature enough to have a weapon of his own. I do as you suggest, I parent, and the results show. Can I say with 100% certainty that being armed is going to prevent me and my family from being the victims of a crime? Nope. Only an idiot, fed on Wayne LaPierre's imbecilic interpretations of our Constitution could believe that turning our country into a vast armed camp with people eager to use their weapons on each other, thinks that this will make us a better society. The NRA is preventing us from doing the heavy lifting.

    December 17, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  24. Timothy Moultrie - Lexington, S.C.

    I am a parent, public school U.S. History teacher, trained and licensed Concealed Weapons Permit holder and gun owner. When talk turns to limiting high capacity magazines, remember the Founding Fathers did not create the Second Amendment for sport or hunting, but to allow the citizen (you) to be the final check on a government gone awry. Of course our government would never violate our unalienable rights, use soldiers against the citizens, violate our privacy, arrest without cause, hold without cause, or incarcerate without trial. It would never violate the principles of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, or the ancient ideals embodied in the Magna Carta. Opps. It has violated every single one of those principles and ideals and that is precisely the reason why we have a Second Amendment and why the citizen (you) should preserve your right to defend your rights. This is especially true if the government gone insane has access to high capacity magazines. But then again, Assad of Syria is probably just misunderstood and needs a hug.

    December 17, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  25. Sniffit

    "Gee u think if someone else besides the bad guy was armed at the school we would have a different outcome?"

    Yep. Different indeed. Even more deaths...some accidental.

    December 17, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
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